The BC Lymphedema Association was born of the vision, passion and leadership of the founding members, committed to building awareness and advocating for people living with lymphedema.
Starting in 2002, Catherine DiCecca, an RMT and Dr Elliot Weiss, a physiatrist had informal discussions regarding the lack of resources for lymphedema patients and the number of patients who went undiagnosed. By 2006, Catherine brought together a team of three patients who were dedicated to providing education, resources and support to empower people living with lymphedema.
2006 (Mar): BC Lymphedema Association (BCLA) inaugural meeting.
Founding Board members included: Deanna Trewin – President, Liza Aboud - Vice- President, Rayma Hagan -Treasurer, Lynn Holloway - Secretary, Catherine DiCecca and Annette Crocker - Members at large, with Dr. Elliott Weiss as Medical Advisor.
With guidance from the Alberta Lymphedema Association (ALA) and the Canadian Lymphedema Framework (CLF) the following were completed:
2006 (Jun): A logo, brochure, domain name & website platform were designed in time for the first Lymphedema Awareness & Networking Day (LAD).
2006 (Dec): Mission and Goal statements were established in readiness for the Incorporation of BCLA under the BC Societies Act.
2007 (Sep): Official launch and registration for charitable status.
2008: Toll-free information line initiated.
Lymphedema Awareness & Education days (LED) became a standard & held in:
2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2018.
2018 (Mar): Board enrolment reached capacity of 10, including representation of members from every health region across the province.
More recent accomplishments are captured here: BCLA Accomplishments List.
BC Lymphedema Association accomplishments have been significant, but the challenges faced: lack of awareness, non or misdiagnoses of the disease plus the lack of medically funded treatment, education and diagnostic testing continue to be the leading issues where BCLA directors focus their energy.